PG&E's Actions Compared to Enron
March 2, 2007
PG&E Corporation claims it joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) to support global warming cap-and-trade legislation out of concern for the Earth’s climate.
Fact: PG&E Corporation’s claims of environmental altruism have been questioned. According to the Wall Street Journal on January 26, 2007, PG&E is one of four "utilities that have made big bets on wind, hydroelectric and nuclear power. So a Kyoto program would reward them for simply enacting their business plan, and simultaneously sock it to their competitors." The Wall Street Journal called cap-and-trade seeking corporations a "pack of climate profiteers."
CEI president Fred Smith explained that PG&E stands to benefit under cap-and-trade proposals. "…if Congress enacts carbon caps on power plant emissions, PG&E will gain an instant competitive advantage over power producers that rely more on coal and less on nuclear, hydro, natural gas, or wind. PG&E’s national market share will grow not because it lowers its prices, but because Congress raised its competitors’ prices," Smith said during a Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) hearing on February 13, 2007.
Senator Kit Bond noted the similarities between corporations clamoring for a cap-and-trade system and the failed energy giant Enron.
"This is not the first time that industry has worked alongside environmentalists. Indeed, this is not even the first time that some in industry have thrown their support toward carbon caps. Indeed, we need only think back to Clinton administration meetings with Enron’s Ken Lay over Kyoto treaty negotiations," Senator Bond said during the February 13, 2007 hearing.
"This Washington Post article ‘Enron Also Courted Democrats: Chairman Pushed Firm’s Agenda With Clinton White House’ chronicled how, ‘[i]n a White House meeting in 1997...Lay urged President Clinton and Vice President Gore to back a market-based approach to the problem of global warming - a strategy that a later Enron memo makes clear would be "good for Enron stock,"’" Senator Bond explained.
"This text bubble details why Enron officials later expressed elation at the binding carbon caps in the Kyoto protocol. According to the Washington Post: ‘an internal [Enron] memo said the Kyoto agreement, if implemented, would "do more to promote Enron’s business than almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States,"’" Senator Bond added.
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